It's one of those things that I tell people about , and they don't believe me. It's such a weird idea, that even owning a copy myself, I have a hard time believing it's real. I've been a Mega Man fan for as long as Mega Man's been a thing. But when the original Blue Bomber finally came to the Super NES, to say that it was not quite what I expected would be an understatement. It wasn't a platformer. It wasn't a shooter. It wasn't even a board game. It was Mega Man Soccer. And surprisingly enough, it wasn't bad.
Yes, this was the very first 16-bit incarnation of the original Blue Bomber, a full year before Mega Man 7, and after Mega Man X introduced us all to the world of Mavericks, Sigma, and Zero. Set sometime after the events of Mega Man 4, Mega Man Soccer tells the completely insane story of how Dr. Wily replaced the players of a major soccer match with robot masters, after a series of explosions goes off in the stadium. Having seen the news on TV, Dr. Light sends Mega Man to the field with some of his friends, and instead of, you know, doing what Mega Man does and just blasting them with his Mega Buster, he challenges them to a soccer tournament for the fate of the world, or something. The suspension of disbelief is off the charts for this one, but I'm glad it's there. If you're going to do something this crazy, you should at least include an absolutely bananas, half-assed story to explain it all.
The game plays out like, well, soccer. You pick a team consisting of several clones (3 Mega Mans, 2 Dust Mans, 3 Proto Mans, etc) and just play some soccer. What makes it Mega Man, you ask? The super powers! Each character has a special move they can perform based on their unique abilities. Since the game features robot masters from Mega Man 1-4 (and Enker from Dr. Wily's Revenge!) these special moves can really shake things up. It's particularly fun to use them on the goalie, resulting in some easy scores. They're not as imaginative or flashy as you would expect, but the effect is well done enough, and it adds some very amusing chaos to the whole affair.
Something weird about this game is that it has an oddly unfinished feel to it, especially when you discover just how much unused content in on the cart. Probably the most interesting stuff is the two different endings, considering that the final game doesn't have an ending at all. One even involves the stadium collapsing and Dr. Wily doing his usual begging for mercy routine! Still, there's something kind of off about the whole thing. The animation is incredibly bare bones, and the music and art are just there. Nothing feels special. Nothing is offensive either, mind you, but it never really feels like it lives up the the Mega Man name. Developer Sun L doesn't have the most impressive catalog under their belts, so I suppose that's not surprising.
What is surprising though, is that this game has never been rereleased anywhere. There have been several Mega Man collections over the years, and they have contained some serious Mega Man oddities. But not even Nintendo's Virtual Console service has seen Mega Man Soccer, which is disappointing. It's not an amazing game by any means, but it's such a curiosity that it really should be played by more people. It's also pretty fun once you get the hang of it, especially in a multiplayer setting. It can be a pretty pricey game, since it isn't exactly common (especially in the box) but if you do track one down, get some Mega Man fans to come over and join in on the fun. At the very least, it's an experience you won't soon forget.
Also, no one has cleats. Not even Needle Man. That's weird.